Woman deep in thought

Kathy was living in fear. After calling the Emerge hotline, she came into shelter and was relieved to have a safe and confidential place to stay. Once she settled in, she told her case coordinator about the time she was hospitalized by her ex-boyfriend.

Before she checked out of the hospital, she had ended the relationship with Brian. Instead of honoring her request, Brian started showing up at Kathy’s apartment and would call her several times a day crying about how he couldn’t live without her. He sent her flowers at work every week and even came to her friend’s holiday party uninvited after finding out about it on social media. If Kathy was unresponsive to Brian’s attempts to get her back, he would send her threatening messages or leave dead rodents on her doorstep with a note that she would soon face a similar fate. Even though the hospital incident and resulting breakup happened several months prior, Kathy was still being tormented.

Kathy realized that Brian’s behaviors were not that of a romantic fighting for love—he was aggressively stalking her to pressure her back into the relationship. During one session with her case coordinator, Kathy shared that she deserved to live without the fear of Brian’s constant threats, and requested that Emerge support her while she pursued charges that had been made against Brian during the hospital incident. Emerge also helped her file a restraining order to further document the abuse with authorities. Brian contacted her several more times even after the documentation was submitted. Each time he did, Kathy would call the police to report the contact and then call the hotline for emotional support.

She was relieved when the contact finally stopped. As the weeks passed, Kathy began to understand how much her ex-boyfriend’s stalking behavior had impacted her sense of safety in the world and that it had been an extension of the abuse she experienced while in the relationship. Without this constant fear encroaching upon her, a space had been created for Kathy to think more clearly and move forward with her life.